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Glenurquhart target cup success

By Paul Chalk

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GLENURQUHART have home advantage for the annual MacDonald Cup challenge against local rivals Strathglass this Saturday.

Premier Division side Glen will be going all out to register a win in this encounter for the first time since their 5-2 victory in 2002.

Strathglass will go in to Saturday’s clash as the underdogs after a disappointing 2010 season which saw the Cannich club finish bottom of North Division One, their poorest league position in more than 30 years.

Glen, on the other hand, have been performing well in the Premier Division and finished sixth last year in their second season since their return to the top flight.

Last year, a last minute strike by Strath substitute Ally Rothe tied the score at 2-2 after Strath took control of proceedings in the latter stages to offset a two-goal deficit.

That draw came after a 0-0 draw in 2009, with Strath retaining the trophy after each of these draws by virtue of being holders. The last outright win was in 2007 when Strath ran out 3-1 winners at Cannich.

The MacDonald Cup has been played seven times since 2000, with Strath winning outright in 2000, 2001 and 2007 with Glen’s 2002 victory being their only one over this period.

Three of these derbies have ended in draws with Glen retaining the trophy after a 1-1 game in 2003, whilst Strath kept possession of the silverware after draws in 2009 and 2010.

Prior to the main duel at Blairbeg Park, Drumnadrochit, the reserve sides of Glen and Strath meet in the annual Aly Ban Cup challenge where holders Glen will be odds-on favourites to take the honours.

Strath will do well to contain a strong Glen team which last year won the North Division Two championship for the second season in succession, in addition to lifting the Strathdearn Cup and finishing runners-up in the Aberdein Considine Sutherland Cup.

The MacDonald Cup has a 1.30pm throw-up, with the Ally Ban challenge starting at 11.30am.

To get the derby day under way, the under 14-teams of Glen and Strath compete for the Slater’s Arms Shield at 10.30am.

The Thomas Ferguson Memorial Cup is at stake when Skye face Kingussie. Despite missing out on Premier Division and Camanachd Cup success last year, Kingussie still won the MacTavish and the MacAulay Cups.

There are also several other pre-season affairs taking place this weekend.

Beauly welcome Kilmallie to Braeview Park where the Premier Division new boys will prove a stiff test for the home team.

On Sunday, Beauly reserves take on Lovat reserves with the venue to be confirmed.

Also taking to the park on Saturday are Ross–shire rivals Caberfeidh and Kinlochshiel at Castle Leod.

In three weeks, these two teams go head to head on the opening day of the season when they clash in the North Division One at Kirkton.

Inverness take to the road with a journey to Argyll where South Division One Oban Celtic are their hosts.

* Lewis Camanachd had their application to join Marine Harvest North Division Three ratified by the Camanachd Association last week.

The inclusion of Lewis within the league structure should prove a welcome addition and will provide the island outfit with an excellent opportunity to develop their skills against more experienced opposition.

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